Lough Sheelin angling report June 20th – June 26th 2022

“If it is not exactly like you thought it would be, you think it’s a failure. but what about the spectrum of colors in between”.

Sara Evans

Last Saturday’s Irish Times featured results of a ‘30 years of change’ survey, ‘Sign of the Times’ – 1991 Vs 2021 and in it, it reports that the popularity of fishing has fallen from 3 per cent to 1 per cent.  It feels as if the researchers have based this on last weeks fishing scenario on Lough Sheelin, where boat numbers dwindled to just one or two and being on the water most days felt like the Marie Celeste.

Hitching a ride – Sheelin’s Welshman’s Button

The longest day of the year, the summer solstice, fell last Tuesday, June 21st and although this date is celebrated globally it can also now  feel like sitting at the top of a slide – heading downwards, towards shortening evenings and encroaching darkness.  To take our minds off this thought and to celebrate  our own mid-summer’s day, the weight of the week was caught by Dublin angler Mark Dancy – a beautiful hefty 7lb trout on a small brown sedge, late in the evening, near Stony.

Murrough fishing
A 6.5 lb sedge trout

It is difficult to get good angling returns when few anglers are fishing the lake but nonetheless there were catches recorded, all of which were sizable fish, most over the 5 lb mark and most caught after 11pm.

Aquatic roadway

The weather was mild, muggy, and humid in the earlier part of the week which rose hopes that there might be some blood worm fishing to be had.  Blood worms are one stage in the life cycle of the buzzer or midge.  Lough Sheelin has lots of this non biting midge fly which are very apparent along shorelines on warm days.  The midge lays her eggs on the surface of the water, up to 3000 in a gelatinous egg mass which sink to the bottom of the lake.  In up to one week, these eggs will hatch out into small worm-like larvae which are known as blood worms.  During the larval stage, the larvae will become pink and eventually red.  This colouring comes from the haemoglobin in the midge fly’s blood.  This iron-containing compound allows the larvae to breathe in the low oxygen conditions in the silt or muddy bottom of the lake.  The blood worms are C-shaped and move in a swimming like motion that includes wriggling in figure of eight hoops.  The next stage is the pupae which rise to the surface to emerge in the adult form.  The interesting thing  about Lough Sheelin, is that during the right weather conditions, it is the blood worm that rises to the surface of the water instead of staying down below and pupating as what normally happens.  Until recently Sheelin was considered unique in this phenomenon but there are a few other trout lakes where this unexplained occurrence happens.

It is still a little early for blood worm fishing on Lough Sheelin, usually we are talking about mid July and we do need a prolonged period of humidity.  The best areas for the blood worm is around Corru, Goreport, Bog Bay and the Sailors Garden.

Success at Church

During the week, daytime temperatures rose into the early 20’s with some days carrying this heat on into the night.  As the weekend approached conditions changed to unmanageable strong and blustery South to South westerly’s coupled with cold.  Water temperatures read 16.44 degrees at 0.5 metres and 16.33 at 12.5 metres. Temperatures between top and bottom varied by 2 degrees on Friday but after the weekends windy turbulence which churned up the lake, this was reduced to just meniscal differences between the depths.

The Mightly Murrough

There were plenty of sedges around and there were windows of opportunity for anglers who persevered.  There was a marvellous hatch of the biggest sedge – the Murrough, on Wednesday night.  It is difficult not to be fascinated by the cased caddis  part of the sedge lifecycle – a protective armour of minute sticks, stones and sand grains, bound together by silken threads.  Not all caddis larvae lash their silken tubes to rocks and armour them with handy fragments.  Others spin silken nets to filter feed or swim freely, with a strand of silk to stop them drifting.  Such illuminating differences distinguish the family groups among some 50, 000 trichopteran species across the world. Sedges or Caddis flies could take a prize for their variation of species.  They are the most diverse insect order whose members are exclusively aquatic.

A quality Sheelin trout

Many people think of the adult sedge flies as moths, but ‘trichoptera’ means ‘hairy wings: moths and butterflies have fragile scales to create their wing patterns.  Walk along Crover shore on a warm evening and the numbers of sedges fluttering about along the edge of this lake is impressive.

To anglers, they are always ‘ the sedges’, from the plants that they often cling to, imitated mostly as small brown sedge patterns with large scruffy ones for the Murrough.  While sedges will hatch sometimes right through the day as temperatures go up, the heaviest hatches tend to be in the evening and even on the tough days (which are numerous here) as the light goes, this is sometimes when these flies really get going.  Responses from the Sheelin fish are slow but there is always that chance of a take.  Anglers reported the odd tug but very little surface interest by the trout.  We are still talking about 90% sub surface feeding.

Starting point

Only one morning featured a good hatch of caenis.  Caenis fishing is precision fishing at its best and is definitely for the angler with good eye sight and who doesn’t mind a 4am start.  Usually size 18-30 caenis patterns are the ones to go for and you need near perfect conditions of a slight surface ripple and warmth.

The Fisherman’s curse – Caenis
Caenis dun and a caenis spinner (spinners have the longer tails)

Day time fishing was all on the blind and anglers reported trout feeding on fry in the shallows.

Resting at Ross

Lough Sheelin is a very challenging lake, there is nothing easy about this wild brown trout fishery.  Here are some essential requirements to achieve any degree of success:

Availability – the angler must be out on the water a great deal in order to avail of the small windows of opportunity as they arise.

Ability to think – Lough Sheelin requires a great deal of careful study.

Stealth and patience – Sheelin trout are boat shy, particularly after the invasion of boats from the mayfly season,  so careful stalking is vital and avoidance of shadowing which will spook our spotted quarry.

For anglers who want ‘instant’ Lough Sheelin isn’t the place to be.  A difficult stretch of water but when you do strike gold, that will be the one you will never forget.

Into the night
The custodian
Green Peters
Sheelin’s yellow dung fly
The edge of reason
Uphill climb
The King


Sheelin’s orchid beetle

And now back to our survey – Inland Fisheries Ireland is asking anglers to fill in a survey which plans to capture anglers’ knowledge and hands-on experience to help track changes in fish stocks and ecosystems. The new method is called FLEKSI, which stands for Fisher’s Local Ecological Knowledge Surveillance Indicators.  The results of this survey could shape future plans for this lake, but we cannot do it without the anglers who fish these waters.

This survey is easy to do, takes a maximum of 10 minutes (unless you want to add extra in on the comments section) and is important.  We are asking anglers to have their say by taking the time to complete this survey.  The link is on the IFI website and if contact details are submitted that person will be automatically entered into a draw for angling tackle (one voucher at €200 and two for €100) but this is entirely optional.  If anglers are having difficulties with the online version, please contact IFI where the local staff at Sheelin are more than willing to help out.

Nocturnal gatherings – Sheelin sedges

Under a thundery sky


 McDonald Cup 13th of August, contact Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033

LSTPA Stream enhancement competition 2nd of October, contact Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033

Interprovincial Championships 20th of August


The Heather Fly – Bibio pomonae

Best patterns for the week

The Chocolate Drop, Red Tailed Peter, Claret Dabbler, Stimulator, Klinkhammer (green and in yellow), Gosling Mayfly wet (size 10), Nymphs – Pheasant Tail, Diawl Bach, Hare’s Ear and Olive in sizes 12 and 14, Mini Muddler as a top dropper,   Greenwell’s Glory, the Gosling (good as a top dropper),  Wickhams Fancy, Bibios and Dabblers (Claret, Olive and Green as top droppers), , Golden Olive Bumble, Spent Gnat and Buzzer patterns, sizes 8-12, Kate McLean, Zulu, Sedgehogs, Murrough, Green Peter Sedge Fly, Cinnamon Sedge, Hare’s Ear Sedgehog Fly and Grey Flag Sedge Fly,



 Please remember anglers to abide by BYE-LAW 949 which strictly prohibits from June 14th, 2017 onwards:

  • The taking of any brown trout of less than 36 centimeters.
  • For a person to fish with more than 2 rods at any one time.
  • To fish with more than 4 rods at any one time when there is more than one person on board the boat concerned.
  • For a person to take more than 2 trout per day.
  • All trolling on the lake from March 1st to June 16th (inclusive).
  • To fish or to attempt to take or to fish for, fish of any kind other than during the period from March 1st to October 12th in any year.
6-spot burnet moth caterpillar


Lough Sheelin Guiding Services (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com) 087 1245927

 Christopher Defillon 

[email protected] (+33685964369) evasionpecheirlande.net


Michael Farrell @ 087 4194156Telephone: +353 43 6681298 Email: [email protected]

Grey Duster Guiding
Kenneth O’Keeffe
086 8984172 Email: [email protected]

John Mulvany  [email protected] 086 2490076


A catch & release policy is always actively encouraged on the lake

Catch & Release

Please remember All anglers are required to have a Fishery Permit to fish Lough Sheelin which must be purchased BEFORE going out on the lake.

Limnephilus flavicornis


The best catch of the week was a 7lb trout caught by Dublin angler, Mark Dancy on a small sedge pattern at the Stony Islands.


Number of catches recorded: 14

A touch of Glass – Brendan Glass’s sunset on Sheelin